Book Review: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki

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Scott Drotar Zen Mind
If it was good enough for Steve Jobs, it is good enough for me.

It is time yet again to make another entry to the Scott Drotar Literary Review. This week I chose something that is a little different from previous weeks, as it is not on a topic from psychology or human behavior. It is a classic in its own right though, and it gives you an introduction to a very powerful and useful skill that can bring happiness and success to your life. This week I discuss “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki.

I have been studying Zen Buddhism and meditation for the last 12 years or so, and I began seriously practicing about 6 years ago. I now meditate every day, and it has had a large, positive impact on my life. Over the years, I have read numerous books on meditation, but this is probably the best. I originally discovered it last summer while I was reading Steve Jobs’ biography, as he mentioned it as having a profound effect on his way of thinking. Even though I had been practicing zazen for years, and I did not need another book to show me how, I figured if someone like Steve Jobs found it that powerful then it must be worth reading. As it turns out, I was right.

Everyone, from the beginner who has never practiced before to the experienced practitioner, has something to learn from this book. It is broken up into 3 parts that discuss how to practice, the attitude you should have, and how to think about your practice. Each part is broken down into short, easy to digest sections making the concepts more straightforward for the reader to understand. The writing is clear and to the point, and it does not come across as overly abstract or ethereal like a lot of books on meditation. The author does a masterful job of explaining both the practice of sitting in meditation as well as the process of applying the Zen mindset to your daily life. He also covers in great detail some of the common issues that arise in the practice of Zen meditation and practice.

This book is truly a masterpiece and should be read by anyone who is at all interested in Zen Buddhism or meditation in general. There is a reason that it is still around over 40 years after its initial publication. The only thing that disappointed me was that I didn’t read it sooner in my journey into the world of meditation. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to experience life more fully. This book gets a 5 out of 5 on the Roll Models Review Scale.

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